Calif., Ariz. Border Towns Have Nation’s Highest Unemployment: Over 28%

Terence P. Jeffrey | November 29, 2012 | 11:49am EST
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This Jeep Cherokee got stuck when suspected drug smugglers tried to drive it over the border fence in Yuma, Ariz. on Oct. 31, 2012. (AP Photo/U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

( - The metropolitan areas of Yuma, Ariz., and El Centro, Calif., have the two highest unemployment rates in the country, according to data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In the El Centro metropolitan area, the unemployment rate for October was 28.1 percent, said BLS. In the Yuma metropolitan area, it was 29.8 percent.

The national unemployment rate in October was 7.9 percent. So, unemployment in El Centro and Yuma was more than 3 and a half times the national rate.

The most conspicuous factor the El Centro and Yuma metropolitan areas have in common is geography. El Centro is in Imperial County, Calif., and Yuma is in Yuma County, Ariz. Imperial and Yuma counties are contiguous to one another and to the Mexican border.

The unemployment rate has almost doubled in the Yuma metropolitan area during Barack Obama’s presidency. In January 2009, when Obama was inaugurated, the unemployment rate in Yuma was 15.4 percent, according to BLS.

The unemployment rate has also increased in the El Centro metropolitan area during Barack Obama’s presidency. In January 2009, the unemployment rate was 24.2 percent there.

After Yuma and El Centro, the Merced, Calif., metropolitan area had the third highest unemployment rate in October. Unemployment was 14.7 percent there.

The Bismarck, North Dakota metropolitan area had the nation’s lowest unemployment rate of 2.2 percent.

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